Review: Carolina Heart by Virginia Kantra

Carolina Heart
Series: Dare Island, #4.5
Author: Virginia Kantra
Publication Date: July 19, 2016

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Determined to leave her wild past behind her, Cynthie Lodge is forging a new life for herself and her daughters—one that’s man-free and drama-free. But not everyone is so eager to let go of the past.

When sexy loner Max Lewis returns to Dare Island, seeing Cynthie again rekindles his feelings for his high school crush. Now he must convince her to take another chance on love.


Carolina Heart was a great addition to Virginia Kantra’s Dare Island series. Despite being a short and sweet novella, it had a big emotional punch. Both Cynthie and Max were trying to move on from their high school labels. Neither could see that they already had. It took falling in love with each other to prove to themselves that they weren’t who they were in high school anymore, they were better versions of themselves.

This novella was a light and easy to read story that was so much fun. It was exactly what I’m looking for when I pick up a contemporary romance. Virginia Kantra’s entire Dare Island series is. I would highly suggest it to adult contemporary romance readers who like a fast-paced and romantic read.

Reader Confessions Book Tag

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I was tagged by Jesse @ Books at Dawn for the Reader Confessions Book Tag. (Thanks, Jesse!) This tag looks like so much! And you get to know a little more about my secret reading habits. 😉


QUESTIONS:

Have you ever damaged a book? 

Unfortunately, yes. More to come on that in a minute.

Have you ever damaged a borrowed book?

This finishes the answer from above. My old boss lent my Jodi Picoult’s Plain Truth back in the day. I don’t remember what happened, but somehow the book got a little wet. There’s no way I would return a book that way, so I went out and bought a second copy to return to her.

How long does it take you to read a book? 

Depends on the book. If it’s a fast-paced romance, I can read it in an evening or two. If it’s a thriller or fantasy then it takes me longer, maybe three days or so. I need breaks for the intensity of thrillers. I’m not sure why it takes longer with the fantasies. Maybe I just need to absorb what I’m reading more. In general, I’m a really fast reader.

Books that you haven’t finished? 

I think DNF’ing books you don’t like is great. I don’t do it as often as I should. I always hope a book is going to get better. I’m trying to think of books I’ve DNF’d and only a couple come immediately to my mind:

Hyped popular books that you don’t like?

This was kind of a hard one to answer. The only books I could think of were The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, and Modern Lovers. They were all okay, but not as good as I was expecting. I won’t be recommending them.

Is there a book you wouldn’t tell anyone you were reading?

I’m pretty open about what I’m reading. I recently told some friends I was reading a book about a sex addict and an alcoholic that fall in love. The only people I might censor myself for would be my parents, my 8 year-old and other people my parents’ age.

How many books do you own? 

My best guess is around 200 physical books. I would count them all, but they’re in different bookcases in different areas of my house and I’m being lazy right now. That doesn’t include all of the Kindle books I own. I own A LOT of Kindle books. My Amazon account says it’s like 998. I don’t think that includes all the ARCS and stuff downloaded from other sources. I probably haven’t read even half of those, though. 🙁

Are you a fast reader or a slow reader? 

I would say I’m a fast reader. I think most people would agree with me. I practice reading a lot. Lol.

Do you like to buddy read?

Yes! I have a Goodreads group I do it with at least once a month. It’s fun. We have a thread where we add our comments in spoilers by chapters. It’s a great way to have a “book group” without having to meet for an actual book group.

Do you read better in your head or out loud? 

Interesting question. I think reading out loud forces me to read every single word written and not speed read over anything. I don’t do it often with books for myself, pretty much only when reading to my daughter. Right now I’m reading Return to the Isle of the Lost out loud to her each night. I did read the entire Harry Potter series out loud for myself, though. I did it when my daughter was a newborn so she could hear my voice. I swear it helped. She was talking before her first birthday. But I guess that counts as reading out loud to her…

If you were only allowed to own one book what one and why? 

Tough question. Probably Bright Side by Kim Holden. It made me laugh. It made me cry. It made me think about how I live my life. It was very inspiring.


I TAG:

Ari @ The Daydreaming Bookworm
Ashley @ What’s She Reading?
Claire @ Art and Soul
Cristina @ My Tiny Obsessions
Stephanie @ Stephanie’s Book Reviews
Susan @ Susan Loves Books

Review: Roman Crazy by Alice Clayton & Nina Bocci

Roman Crazy
Series: Broads Abroad, #1

Authors: Alice Clayton & Nina Bocci
Publication Date: September 13, 2016
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Avery Bardot steps off the plane in Rome, looking for a fresh start. She’s left behind a soon-to-be ex-husband in Boston and plans to spend the summer with her best friend Daisy, licking her wounds—and perhaps a gelato or two. But when her American-expat friend throws her a welcome party on her first night, Avery’s thrown for a loop when she sees a man she never thought she’d see again: Italian architect Marcello Bianchi.

Marcello was the man—the one who got away. And now her past is colliding with her present, a present where she should be mourning the loss of her marriage and—hey, that fettuccine is delicious! And so is Marcello…

Slipping easily into the good life of summertime in Rome, Avery spends her days exploring a city that makes art historians swoon, and her nights swooning over her unexpected what was old is new again romance. It’s heady, it’s fevered, it’s wanton, and it’s crazy. But could this really be her new life? Or is it just a temporary reprieve before returning to the land of twin-set cardigans and crustless sandwiches?

A celebration of great friendship, passionate romance, and wonderful food, Roman Crazy is a lighthearted story of second chances and living life to the fullest.


Contemporary romances readers — Get ready for a new favorite series!

I absolutely loved Alice Clayton and Nina Bocci’s Roman Crazy. I’ve read collaborations before, but never have I read a collaboration without dual points of view. Avery was the sole narrator in Roman Crazy. Alice Clayton and Nina Bocci’s writing melded together so fluently it read like it was written by one person. I was so impressed!

Another thing that impressed me about Roman Crazy was the setting. The authors made Rome feel like one of the characters. I could easily imagine the streets and buildings. I’ve never thought about traveling to Rome, but this book has me tempted!

Avery was a really great character going through a mid-life crisis. Leaving behind her almost ex-husband opened her eyes to how she was truly living life. She quickly discovered who she was might not be the person she wanted to be. Running away to Rome and reuniting with Marcello added even more depth to her discovery. It allowed her to come to terms with her decisions over the past ten years and fight for what she really wanted for herself.

I adored Avery and Marcello’s love affair. No matter how complicated Avery’s life was at the moment, their relationship felt simple. They connected in a sweet, but carnal way. Marcello got her in a way no one else did. Their second chance at love made me so happy!

There were also some really interesting twists along the way for readers. I have to admit I was a little surprised by some of the revelations that both Avery and Marcello made toward the end of the book.

Obviously, I was enchanted by Roman Crazy. It was so much fun to read. I would highly recommend it to readers who enjoy humorous second chance romances.

“A Long Time Ago, in a Land Far, Far Away” Book Tag

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I was tagged by the lovely Cristina @ My Tiny Obsessions for the “A Long Time Ago, In A Land Far, Far Away” Book Tag. This tag was created by Keira @Pirate Lady Pages. It looks like so much fun! Thanks, Cristina!


ONCE UPON A TIME

At least in western fairy-tales, once upon a time is the most common and well-known opening for a traditional fairytale. What book opening makes you feel nostalgic?

If you’ve read The DUFF, you’re probably laughing. This book is in no way my life story, but it did remind me of being 18. Like Bianca in the beginning, my friends and I used to go to this 18 and over club in Seattle called DV8. (I totally just aged myself for anyone who lives in the Seattle area. Lol.) It kind of made me miss that time in my life. So much drama — but so much fun!

IN A LAND FAR, FAR AWAY

Another common opening which speaks of far off places. What is a book set in a country completely unlike your own?

Roman Crazy is (gasp!) set in Rome. Even though it’s set in present day, there are so many customs that are different from what I experience daily in the U.S. I really enjoyed reading about them.

FROM MOUTH TO MOUTH

Our oldest fairy tales were told time and time again with no written record, told only in the spoken form. Everyone had their own version of the fairy tales. What is your favorite retelling?

Broken is a take on the Beauty and the Beast theme. The entire Redemption series by Lauren Layne is filled with fun retellings with interconnected characters. I loved reading them.

THROUGH THE GENERATIONS

Fairy tales are told to us as children and so are passed on through the years. What is a book that someone beloved passed on to you?

Where’d You Go, Bernadette was passed from my sister to my mom and then to me. It was a funny and amazing book. Plus, it was set in Seattle. I loved it!

A SPECIAL STORY

Fairy tales are a big part of our culture and say a lot about who we are as people. What is your favorite fairytale and what does it say about you?

I’ll always have a soft spot for Beauty and the Beast. I think it came out when I was in junior high. My friend gave me the VHS tape of it (Yes, I’m THAT old.) and we used to watch it all of the time. I think that says I have emotional ties to memories from the past?

AND THEY ALL LIVED HAPPILY EVER AFTER

Fairy tales tend to have happy endings. What is a book you’ll love forever?

I can’t say enough how special Bright Side is to me. I try to base my life on some of the stuff I read in this book. It was filled with every emotion and such a touching story.


I Tag:

Alex
Ashley
Jesse
Jill
Joey
Sky
Stephanie
The Orang-utan Librarian

And anyone else who wants to join in!

This or That Book Tag #3

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I was tagged by the lovely Wendy @ Birdy Bookworm for the This or That Book Tag. (Thanks, Wendy!) I have participated in this tag before, but it’s been quite a while so I thought I’d give it a go again. 🙂


THE RULES OF THE TAG:

  1. Mention the creator of the tag. (Sorry! Not sure who created this one!)
  2. Thank the blogger who tagged you.
  3. Choose one of the options, you don’t have to tell the reasons why you chose that but you can also do them if you want to.
  4. Tag 10 other people to do this tag to spread the love!

THE QUESTIONS:

Reading on the couch or on the bed?

Neither! I know I’m supposed to pick one or the other, but I read in a recliner. It’s my favorite reading spot.

Male main character or female main character?

I like romances with dual points of view, so I want to pick both. If I absolutely have to pick, I’d go with male. I love, love, love a good cocky alpha male narrator. 😉

Sweet snacks or salty snacks when reading?

Normally, I would pick sweet. I have to say salty right now, though; because my hubby and I are avoiding the sugar. My new go-to reading snack is popcorn. It’s yummy!

Trilogies or quartets?

That’s a hard one. I guess quartets? I like series with interconnected characters that can be read as stanalones.

First person point of view or third person point of view?

First person. I like to feel like I’m the character.

Reading at night or in the morning?

Night. That’s when I read. My hubby watches whatever show he likes (usually something intense or bloody that I can’t watch) while I read. It’s like we’re hanging out but doing our own thing.

Libraries or bookstores?

Bookstores. I just like to hang out and look at all the pretty new books. I do frequent the library, but old, used books give me the heebie jeebies. I blame my Grandma Faye who lived to be the ripe old age of 104 and wouldn’t touch a library book.

Books that make you laugh or make you cry?

I want a book to make me feel, so either works. But if a book does both, then it cements a place in my all time favorites. (That’s why Bright Side ends up in ALL of my lists!)

Black book covers or white book covers?

As long as they have a half-naked male on the front I really don’t care!

Character driven or plot driven stories?

Character driven. Like I said, it’s all about the feel and characters thoughts are what drives that.


I TAG:

Kendra @ Reads and Treats
Zoe @ Zoe169
Esther @ Chapter Adventures
Tash @ The Bookie Monsters
What A Book Wants
Camryn @ The Writing Crafter
Jenn @ Jenn’s Bookish Wonderland
Kathy @ A View to a Book
Sheri @ Read in a Flash
Susan @ Susan Loves Books

Also, feel free to do this tag if you want to join in!

Review: The Layover by Whitney G.

The Layover
Author: Whitney G.

Publication Date: January 27, 2014
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

I don’t care which city. I don’t care which flight. I just need to get the hell out of here… Paris Weston is tired of all the broken promises her boyfriend has given her over the years. Instead of showing up to their ‘secret’ engagement party, she shows up to the airport—ready and willing to go wherever the next flight is bound. Determined to get away and start again, she’s certain that a week or two away will solve all of her problems. Until she never makes it to her final destination. Until the sexy, dirty-mouthed stranger who sits next to her on the plane changes everything. Until the unintended layover leaves her never wanting to go back home.


This novella by Whitney G. couldn’t have been more perfect! It was delightfully funny, sexy and sweet. I loves Paris and Blake. Things between them were more slow-burn than I expected, but still incredibly hot. And the dialog between them was so witty!

I absolutely loved this novella. The only thing wrong with it was that it ended. 🙁 I wish it would have been a full length novel instead of a novella. I needed more! I want to know what happened next! Can someone please convince Whitney G. to either make this into a full length novel or write a Part 2? I would totally buy it.

Review: This Adventure Ends by Emma Mills

This Adventure Ends
Author:
Emma Mills
Publication Date: October 4, 2016
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary Romance
Note: I received an ARC from Henry Holt & Co. via NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Synopsis:

Sloane isn’t expecting to fall in with a group of friends when she moves from New York to Florida—especially not a group of friends so intense, so in love, so all-consuming. Yet that’s exactly what happens.

Sloane becomes closest to Vera, a social-media star who lights up any room, and Gabe, Vera’s twin brother and the most serious person Sloane’s ever met. When a beloved painting by the twins’ late mother goes missing, Sloane takes on the responsibility of tracking it down, a journey that takes her across state lines—and ever deeper into the twins’ lives.

Filled with intense and important friendships, a wonderful warts-and-all family, shiveringly good romantic developments, and sharp, witty dialogue, this story is about finding the people you never knew you needed.


This Adventure Ends is a coming of age story about friendship and how far friends will go to be there for each other. High school senior Sloan has just moved to Florida with her family. She’s hoping to fly under the radar like she did at her old school, but she immediately secures her place in a close-knit group of friends when she defends one of them against a bully.

To be honest, this book was incredibly fun to read, but there were some little things that bugged me along the way. It was almost too character driven. I wondered where the story was headed the entire time because of the adventure mentioned in the book’s title. The adventure seemed to be lying beneath the surface, and I wanted it to pop out at me. I expected it to be an epic adventure. What I got was a mission to find a painting intertwined with a wishy-washy main character who constantly distanced herself from everyone. I guess I just expected more from the adventure part. It wasn’t until the climax of the story that the true meaning of the story jumped out at me. (It was definitely an “ah-ha” moment!) But that didn’t mean that I didn’t love or enjoy the reading experience.

Sloan was an incredibly witty character. I loved her dialog and banter. I would have wanted to bring her into my group of friends in high school, too. She didn’t realize she was cool, though. Sloan couldn’t seem to commit to anything. She wouldn’t admit she wanted a future in singing, that she wanted friends, or that she loved the move to Florida. She was afraid of it all. It made her character feel wishy-washy and kind of blah at times.

All of Sloan’s new friends were entertaining to read about. I loved Vera and Gabe. The twins were so different, but each had something different to contribute to Sloan’s life. The same could be said of Remy, Audrey and Brie. They were such a great supporting cast.

I can’t leave out my favorite character of or favorite thing about This Adventure Ends. Frank Sanger of Frank Sanger Presents was my favorite person/thing in this entire book. I loved every situation and conversation that included him. I found myself eagerly anticipating every part that included him. He made me so happy! I want a book all about Frank Sanger. He was for all people. He was for me.

This Adventure Ends was a book I truly enjoyed reading. There were so many amazing moments and characters in it. I know other readers are going to love this book and the message it sends. This Adventure Ends is a book I would recommend to YA contemporary readers. (Plus, everyone needs to experience the awesomeness that is Frank Sanger!)

Cover Reveal: The Player by Claire Contreras

I am so, so excited to be able to share with you the cover for The Player by Claire Contreras. Claire is one of my favorite New Adult authors and this will be her first SPORTS ROMANCE! As an added bonus, you’ll find the blurb below the cover! I cannot wait to read it! Get ready — This cover is SO SEXY!

SYNOPSIS:

I’m naturally gifted on the field and between the sheets. With flashy cars and enough media attention to put the Royal Family to shame, I’m the definition of Most Eligible Bachelor.

I’ve never met a man who doesn’t want to be me or a woman who doesn’t want to tame me. Until I meet Camila.

From the moment I lay eyes on her, I know I have to have her.

She wants to keep me at arm’s length.
I want her naked in my bed.

She thinks our worlds are too different.
All I want her to think about is screaming my name.

She says I’m bad news.
I have three weeks to prove her wrong.

PRE-ORDER LINKS:

Ebooks:

iBooks ➺ http://bit.ly/ThePlayeriBooks
B&N ➺ http://bit.ly/THEPLAYERBN
Kobo ➺ http://bit.ly/THEPLAYERKOBO
Google Play ➺ http://bit.ly/THEPLAYERGOOGLEPLAY
Amazon ➺ Ebook link will be available ON October 10th.

Paperbacks:

Amazon  ➺ http://bit.ly/TPPaperback
BooksaMillion ➺ http://bit.ly/THEPLAYERBOOKSAMILLION
BarnesnNoble ➺ http://bit.ly/BNPAPERBACK

Isn’t the cover so gorgeous? I can’t wait to read it!!!

Review: Blitzed by Lauren Landish

Blitzed
Series: Ballers & Babies, #1

Author: Lauren Landish
Publication Date: May 11, 2016
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance, Sports Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ 

Synopsis:

“I brought Laurie back to meet her father. I brought her back to meet you.”

I’m normally not into jocks, but when Troy Wood asks me out, I feel like I’m the Chosen One. After all, he’s hot as hell and Silver Lake’s best athlete, practically the King of Campus.

God’s gift to women—that’s what they call him, but I’ll make a gentleman out of him.

Everything is perfect, and he already practically has his ticket to the Big Leagues.

There’s just one little problem . . . I’m hiding a secret that could destroy him and his future. I can’t tell him . . .

I can’t tell him that I’m pregnant with his baby.

**Blitzed is a full-length romance with an HEA, no cheating, and no cliffhanger!


I’m a big sports romance fan so when I saw that Blitzed took place in my state and includes my favorite football team (Go Hawks!), I couldn’t pass it up. I had to read it.

Blitzed was the story of a condom mishap that left high school senior Whitney pregnant. Rather than tell her football star boyfriend Troy she was pregnant, she fled the state. Whitney didn’t want to ruin the future Troy so badly needed.

Years later, Whitney can’t move on from the feelings she once felt for Troy. She decides it’s time to come clean and introduce Troy to his daughter. Whitney hopes seeing Troy again will either reunite them or prove to her that their love is in the past.

There were some good things and some not so good things about Blitzed. The good things were the characters. Whitney and Troy started out with a connection based on looks and popularity, but as they got to know each other things went deeper. Whitney was a great support to Troy. Her decision to hide her pregnancy was done with such love that I can’t complain about how stupid she was to do it. I also loved little Laurie. She was such a cutie.

Now for the not so good…While I liked the idea of Whitney hiding her pregnancy to protect Troy’s future, I was let down by the big reveal. I didn’t get any of the emotions I expected. That disappointed me because it took away from what could have been one of the biggest moments of the story. The lack of what I expected also made the story feel less real.

I also had some issues with the dialog in this book. It was especially bad between the girls. I can’t think of a good way to describe it. Maybe kind of ghetto? Maybe I’m not around enough teenagers to know, but it just didn’t feel right. It felt awkward and with Whitney’s mom being a religious freak, I didn’t buy it.

Unfortunately, the bad outweighed the good in Blitzed. The storyline and characters had a lot of promise, but fell flat. What could have been a great story ended up being just okay. I probably won’t continue reading the rest of the series.

Excerpt Reveal: The Bachelor Auction by Rachel Van Dyken

bachelor_auction_excerpt

I’m super excited to bring you a sneak peak at an excerpt for Rachel Van Dyken’s upcoming contemporary romance release The Bachelor Auction! It’s the first book in her new series The Bachelors of Arizona.

Excerpt

“Bentley!” Brock barked and shook his head.

“What?” Bentley shrugged then smoothly walked over to Jane and pulled out a box of black high-heeled pumps in a size eight and a half. “Your foot, milady?”

Brock rolled his eyes. “Give it a rest, Bentley. She can put on her own damn shoes.”

Bentley completely ignored him. “I love a woman’s foot.” He grabbed Jane’s broken shoe and tossed it to the side while his hands danced along the arch of her foot. His fingertips danced along her skin. Seduction by foot rub? That was new.

“It’s sexy, the arch.” He leaned over her, his lips parting just enough to give her the impression he was thinking about kissing her. “The curve of a woman’s foot reminds me of her body…see? Sexy.” He slid the shoe on a very terrified looking Jane and stood. “Perfect fit.”

Jane’s mouth opened then closed as a rosy flush crept over her face. “Th-thank you.”

“I bought you my favorite brand.”

Her eyebrows arched. How did he know about Manolo Blahnik? “Oh.” And then she nodded and said loudly, “Ohhhh! That makes sense!”

Bentley’s eyes narrowed. “Me buying women’s shoes?”

“You wearing them,” she explained. “That’s great. I mean, good for you. I’m sorry I’m so awkward at things like this, but it’s good you’re…you know…” She bobbed her head and sputtered. “Out and…comfortable with it.”

“Out?” Bentley repeated. “I’m confused.”

“Of the closet,” she said slowly then saw the scowl on Bentley’s face. “Or maybe you just like to dress like a woman?” She straightened her shoulders and tried again. “In either case, congratulations on your choice to wear women’s clothing!”

Brock about died laughing as Bentley’s horrified expression went from stunned to genuine confusion.

“You heard her.” Brock held his laughter in check. “Congratulations, brother. I’ll take care of the press release: Bachelor Playboy Bentley Wellington and his private women’s shoe collection.”

Bentley let out a strangled laugh. “Yes, and while we’re at it why don’t we remind the press that the clock is ticking on that auction of yours? Hmm?”

“Auction?” Jane asked.

“Don’t.” Brock shook his head. “You don’t want to know.”

“But she probably already does.” Bentley pointed out. “Unless she doesn’t read the news…?”

They both stared at her, waiting for an answer.

“I, uh…” She ducked her head, blushing again. “I read books.”

“How pure.” Bentley smiled and sat down next to her. “And just so we’re clear.” He leaned in as though he was going to kiss her. “My bat only swings one way…and I can assure you, every time I get thrown a pitch, I hit it out of the park.”

bachelor_auction_coming_soon

Are you ready to Meet Brock Wellington?
THE BACHELOR AUCTION by Rachel Van Dyken is coming October 4!

Pre-Order your copy today!

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2cqtEJo
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2casLH2
iBooks: http://apple.co/2c4SmQS
B&N: http://bit.ly/1SKyEdn
Kobo: http://bit.ly/2bgINiM
GooglePlay: http://bit.ly/2bNZuQE

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Blurb

Jane isn’t entirely sure that Cinderella got such a raw deal. Sure, she had a rough start, but didn’t she eventually land a prince and a happily-ever-after? Meanwhile, Jane is busy waiting on her demanding, entitled sisters, running her cleaning business, and . . . yep, not a prince in sight. Until a party and a broken shoe incident leave Jane wondering if princes—or at least, a certain deliciously hunky billionaire—maybe do exist.

Except Brock Wellington isn’t anyone’s dream guy. Hell, a prince would never agree to be auctioned off in marriage to the highest bidder. Or act like an arrogant jerk—even if it was just a façade. Now, as Brock is waiting for the auction chopping block, he figures it’s karmic retribution that he’s tempted by a sexy, sassy woman he can’t have. But while they can’t have a fairy-tale ending, maybe they can indulge in a little bit of fantasy . .

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About the Author:

Rachel Van Dyken is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today Bestselling author of regency and contemporary romances. When she’s not writing you can find her drinking coffee at Starbucks and plotting her next book while watching The Bachelor.

She keeps her home in Idaho with her Husband, adorable son, and two snoring boxers! She loves to hear from readers!

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

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